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Fanciful Inkjet Fortress 


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Fanciful Inkjet Fortress 

Written By: Steve Lodefink 


Inkjet prints (1) 

Corrugated boxes (2) 

Utility knife (1) 

Scissors (1) 


clear packing tape. 

Spray adhesive (1) 

3M 777 super works the best. 

Computer (1) 

with image-editing software. 


If you have kids, chances are at some point you've cut a couple of holes in an upside-down 
cardboard box and called it a "tunnel" for the train set, or a "house" for a doll family. Although 
kids seem to love them, these impromptu structures tend to be pretty forgettable. I've found 
that with some inkjet prints and spray adhesive, you can turn these quickie buildings into 
toys that, while still ephemeral, will hold your child's attention for months rather than hours. 

At our house, Playmobil knights and Vikings are all the rage, and while the Playmobil castle 
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Fanciful Inkjet Fortress 

and fortress sets are thoughtfully designed and constructed, they are also pretty expensive 
for what will certainly be a short-lived obsession. By the time our cardboard fortress wears 
out, we'll be on to the next thing. If not, we'll just whip up another one for pennies on the 
dollar compared to commercial sets. 

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Fanciful Inkjet Fortress 

• Once you decide what you're going to build, poke around the web for appropriate "texture" 
images. A couple of handy sites are Mayang's Free Texture Library and I mage* After . 

• After you find a texture you like, you will probably need to manipulate the file a bit before 
printing it out to use on your project. At least you'll need to resize the image to fit your 
printer paper, but chances are you'll also want to tile the image to fill the page. 

• Typical file preparation involves the following steps: 

• Open a new document in your image-editing software and set document size to 8.5x1 1 
at 150 dpi. 

• Open your texture image, choose "Select All," and copy the contents of the image to the 

• Paste the image into your new file. Repeat as many times as necessary to fill the page 
with the texture, butting the tiles against one another in a neat grid. 

• Print out as many sheets as you need. 

• Tip: Printing lighter-colored textures will be easier on your ink cartridges than dark, 
saturated ones. 

• There are simple techniques for creating seamless tiled images using Photoshop or other 
image-editing programs, but simply copying and pasting the image to fill the page usually 

• Using 8.5x11 plain paper, our example fortress required about 10 sheets of the main body 
stone, 6 sheets of the upper stone, and 4 sheets of "wood floor" texture for the deck 
surfaces. The bigger your building, the more prints you will need. 

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Fanciful Inkjet Fortress 

Our basic fortress is comprised of 2 boxes: a file-archive box as the base, and a smaller 
box as the tower section. We started by cutting one third off one end of the smaller box 
and taping the flaps closed. 

Form the tower battlements by cutting evenly spaced notches around the open end of the 
small piece. Invert this section and tape it atop the small box. 

If your large box lends itself to this method, then repeat this same procedure to construct 
the main section of the castle. Our large box was different, having a separate lid, so we 
used scrap corrugated cardboard to form the main castle battlements. 

• Trim your texture printouts to appropriately shaped panels and start decorating your 
building. Adhere the prints with a spray-on adhesive. For the paper to stick properly, spray 
the printout and area of the box where you'll be applying it. First lay the print facedown on 
a large piece of cardboard to catch the over-spray, and spray a light coat of adhesive all 
the way to the edges. Then spray the building, using heavy paper or cardboard to protect 
the rest of the structure. Stick the print to the box and trim any overhang. Continue until it 
is entirely papered. 

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Fanciful Inkjet Fortress 

You may decorate parts of your building prior to attaching them together, like areas where 
sections join or overlap. We finished the main decking and tower siding before taping them 
together. The rest was then papered, and the door added. 

There's no end to the amount of detailing and add-ons that you can do with this kind of 
model — if time and imagination permit, go nuts and add windows, walkways, ladders, and 

As a finishing touch, we made inkjet flags on bamboo skewers to fly from the tower. To 
make the flags, print out a strip of 2 flag images, with one flipped horizontally. Apply 
adhesive to the back of the flag pair and fold it around a bamboo skewer. 

Now sit back, and watch as tiny plastic Barbarians lay siege to a Roman stronghold. 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 02 . pages 142-144. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -02 1 1 :00:1 3 PM. 

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